How to Secure a Smart Home

The Internet of Things (IoT) can turn your home into a “smart” home. However, your home can become “insecure” due to the insecure Internet of Things.

It is true that a more connected home is more efficient and makes your life easier. A smart home can, however, become the target of cybercriminals. Hackers can steal your banking details and personal information. They can misuse your personal information. And they can spy on you since they are capable of taking control of your microphones and smart cameras.

Therefore, smart home devices, such as security cameras, fridges, thermostats, TVs, smart speakers, etc., may put your privacy and security at risk. Many smart home devices are also vulnerable to a wide range of attacks.

That is why if you want to invest your hard-earned money to set up a smart home, you need to invest some time and energy to secure your smart home. Continue reading for the best ways to secure your smart home:

Set Up Your Wireless Router Correctly

The doorway to a smart home is the wireless router. If a cybercriminal attempts to attack your smart home, you do not want your wireless router to break down. Start with your wireless router if you want to secure your smart home. This is because your router connects all your smart home devices.

Here is how to set up a secure wireless router:

Change the Default Name of Your Wireless Router

Do not use the default name of your router. The default name is usually the make and model of the router. If people know the make and model of your router, they can search for the default username and password of your router. They can use the default username and password to access your smart home.

Change the default name to a unique name, which is not associated with your house number, address, or even your name. You do not want to give away personal identifiers. So, you will have to be creative with the name of your router.

Create a Strong Password

Do not just change the default name. You still need to create a strong password. You can use letters, symbols, and numbers to create a strong password. Or use a random password generator to help you create a strong password for enhanced security.

Use the Highest Level of Encryption

You will need to choose the highest level of encryption. WPA2 is the highest level of encryption at the moment. If your wireless router only supports the WEP or WPA protocols, then you may need to upgrade your router.

Hackers mainly target home routers. Therefore, securing your router can help secure your smart buildings.

Use Strong Passwords

Do not just create a strong password for your wireless router. You will still need to create strong passwords for your other IoT devices. This is because you may need an account to use these devices. If you must create an account to use an IoT device, then create a strong password for each account. For instance, you may use a mobile app to operate your smart home device. You will, therefore, need login details to use the mobile app.

It is imperative to create unique credentials for an app or account of every smart home device. If a cybercriminal manages to get the username and password of one of your smart home devices, the other devices will not be compromised.

The disadvantage is that you will have to remember several usernames and passwords. If you have to write down the usernames and passwords, you need to keep them away from prying eyes. Do not just write them down in your secret diary. It is best to use a password management tool to store your passwords. The tool can even help you create new passwords and sync them between your devices.

Set Up a Separate Wi-Fi Network for Your Smart Home Devices

Many modern wireless routers allow you to set up different networks. You can, therefore, set up a separate Wi-Fi network for your smart home devices to protect your main Wi-Fi network from cybercriminals.

Your family, friends, and guests will not use the same network as your smart home devices. You and your family will only use your local smart home network.

Your smartphone or laptop will, therefore, be on a separate network. If hackers manage to hack your smart home devices, they will not manage to access your smartphone or laptop.

Ofer Maor, OWASP Foundation’s board member and a cybersecurity thought leader said, “I run my house on multiple network segments. I have an ‘office’ network for the most sensitive parts of my house, including laptops and NAS. I have a ‘Home IoT’ network for most of my smart home devices. Running multiple network segments limits a breach. If hackers hack one of my smart home devices, they will not be able to reach my sensitive data or my laptop.”

Disable Features You Don’t Use

You can control many smart home devices from anywhere in the world. Disabling remote access if you only use them in the Wi-Fi connection of your home can help secure your smart home.

Smart speakers have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. If you do not use one of them, you should turn it off. Smart TVs have voice control. However, many people do not use this feature, even if they use smart assistants, such as Alexa, Sire, or Google Assistant, in their homes. If your mic is active and hackers hack it, then the hackers can pry on your conversations.

If you disable some features, you will block multiple entry points.

Update Your Smart Home Devices

Updates to the firmware of your wireless router might not happen automatically. You will need to manually update the firmware. The updates can include security patches. The security patches enhance the security of your network.

You will, therefore, need to check your router every couple of months for pending firmware updates. If there are pending firmware updates, install them immediately. Update your smart home devices and their apps. Updating your smart home devices can protect your devices from hackers.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

If you use online banking, you probably know what is multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication is two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication can secure your smart home devices. If someone attempts to use your password to log in to your smart home device, they will have to provide additional proof of identity.

The additional proof of identity can be a verification code or one-time pin (OTP) send to your email address or phone number to confirm that the person trying to log in is you.

Many smart home devices have two-factor authentication. However, some devices do not have this. In such cases, use third-party apps, like Google Authenticator, to enable two-factor authentication.

If your smart home devices have authentication, you can still use a trustworthy third-party service to provide an extra layer of security.

Employ a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)

Wireless routers have built-in firewalls. However, the built-in firewall is not always sufficient. The traditional firewall, for example, does not have the most important security features, such as virtual private network (VPN), SSL/SSH interception, QoS management, malware protection, content filtering, and an intrusion prevention system (IPS).

A next-generation firewall (NGFW), which is an integrated network platform, combines the traditional firewall with the aforementioned security features. It can, therefore, help to detect cyberattacks and protect smart home devices from cybercriminals.

It is, however, expensive to invest in next-generation firewalls. It is worth investing in next-generation firewalls. If you can afford to invest in smart home devices, you can spend extra money to secure these devices. Securing your devices can secure your privacy.

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